Graduate Certificate in Applied Finance Online

May 21, 2020

Overview of Online Graduate Certificate Programs in Applied Finance

There is at least one graduate certificate in applied finance available in an online format, but usually applied finance certificate programs and related certificates, like a certificate in applied finance and economics, are available on-campus. These certificate programs are usually designed for financial service providers or those planning on pursuing careers in financial management for various kinds of financial institutions. Students in these certificate programs may further develop their skills in international finance, credit markets, corporate finance, and more.

Online graduate certificate programs in applied finance may be completed in 2 to 3 semesters. Students may be able to count credits from these certificate programs towards a master's degree, and some certificate programs may include courses that are specific to a certain degree program, such as a course for Master of Business Administration (MBA) students. The online program can be completed entirely online and applicants to these certificate programs usually need a bachelor's degree and may need to meet a minimum GPA requirement. Some related certificates in applied finance and economics may be available to undergraduate students, post-baccalaureate students, and graduate students.

Requirements for Online Applied Finance Certificates

Not only do students in online applied finance certificate programs gain analytical skills in business, but they explore topics in areas like personal finance, portfolio management, financial globalization, and real estate market analysis. Students in these programs receive a well-rounded background in investments and business finance, but may also be able to focus their studies in various areas.

General Requirements

Graduate certificate programs in applied finance usually require between 11 and 12 credits, while related programs in applied finance and economics may require as many as 36 credits. Certificate programs specifically in applied finance may require around 3 core courses and 1 to 2 elective courses to allow students to create an individualized plan of study. For example, students who are interested in pursuing a career in corporate finance management, may be able to take an elective(s) in areas such as international finance or risk management. Students wishing to apply credits from their certificate program towards a master's degree usually need to make a 3.0 GPA or higher in the course(s) that can be applied towards the degree.

Common Courses

Finance/Financial Principles

Courses that explore topics in finance or financial principles are designed to provide students with the tools and methods used in the financial decision-making process. Students develop a greater knowledge of the financial environment and may explore specific topics in areas like the time-value-of-money, risk and return, capital structure, and more.


Students in these courses explore different investment options, such as stocks, options, and mutual funds, and learn how to analyze each kind. Students may also explore the various roles involved in the investment process, including portfolio managers and security analysts. Other specific topics may include security valuation, portfolio management, and financial markets.

Business Analysis/Managerial Finance

Although these courses may go by different names, students in these courses further develop their skills in financial analysis and apply their findings to make informed business decisions. Students learn how to use and manage different types of information and may explore topics in quality control, financial forecasting, valuation, and capital budgeting.

Career Outcomes With a Certificate in Applied Finance

While a graduate certificate in applied finance does not necessarily qualify students for any particular finance career, there are several different careers in the field that may benefit from these certificate programs. For example, financial managers typically need at least a bachelor's degree and work experience, but could benefit from the analytical skills gained in an applied finance certificate program as they oversee the financial activities of their organization. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), financial managers had a median annual salary of $129,890, as of 2019, and a job outlook of 16% from 2018 to 2028, which is much faster than average.

Personal financial advisors also typically only need a bachelor's degree, but these advisors may apply some of the investment knowledge and other skills gained in a certificate program to help their clients manage their finances. As of 2019, the BLS reported that these professionals made a median annual salary of $87,850. The BLS also reported that personal financial advisors had a job outlook of 7% from 2018 to 2028, which is faster than average.

Online graduate certificate programs in applied finance are rare, but can usually be completed in 2 to 3 semesters. Students in these programs can individualize their plan of study with some electives to help prepare for a specific finance-related career.

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